Cranes ready to roll for Co-op HQ

Three tower cranes will be erected at the building site for the Co-operative Group's new headquarters by the end of August, the insurance-to-retail giant said as it confirmed financial close with BAM as lead contractor.

Site clearance work has been going on for several months at the site of the £100m, 325,000 sq ft office building on the northern edge of Manchester city centre.

The new building will be the first phase in the redevelopment and regeneration of the group's 20-acre site, located at the city's Northern Gateway and bounded by Miller Street and Corporation Street.

The start on site will boost the city's office take-up figures this year as it taken as the point when agents will count a pre-let deal in the annual tally.

Peter Marks, group chief executive at the Co-operative Group, said: "Our new building will be one of the most exciting and innovative in the UK and so it was essential that we appointed a company with the experience of working on other similar projects not only in this country but across Europe.

"During the past few months we have been working with BAM on finalising the specifications and costings and preparing the site. They have demonstrated that they have the right approach and so we have every confidence that they will help deliver a truly magnificent new home for the group."

Steve Byrne, North West director of BAM, said: "This is a hugely impressive project not only in design, construction techniques and the expertise it demands of us, but also for how it will contribute to the community and economy around it. At BAM, that is something we value and we could not have a better partner than The Co-operative Group to work with. Our project team is very positive about addressing these challenges."

BAM, formerly HBG, is on a strong winning streak in the North West, working on the £70m Bolton Community College campus, Mann Island in Liverpool, new offices for BAE Systems in Samlesbury and posing an increasing threat to traditional dominators such as Bovis Lend Lease. Bovis's largest project in the region, Media City UK at Salford Quays, is drawing to a close and the firm has appointed a new northern boss, former head of Taylor Woodrow Construction Tim Peach, to try and win new business.

The 15-storey headquarters on Miller Street will be among the most sustainable new office buildings in Europe. Construction will begin in earnest in mid-July.

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